So sewing machines seem to be breeding in my studio. Penny has been happily sewing away, day in and day out, keeping business running. My original home Singer is my label machine now, and Agnes (the 1950’s Singer 15-91 that Lindsay gave me for my birthday is my go to quilt piecing machine. I had still really wanted to add a Singer Featherweight to my collection, to use for classes and sewing days with my guild. And because I luuuuuurrrve them!
A friend told me once that you never look for looms, they just find you. Well, the same seems to be true for sewing machines. I put the word out that I was looking for a pre-war Featherweight, working or not. Linda, a member of my guild, told me she had 4! and was looking to pare down a bit. So at the next meeting she brought along her 1937 machine for me to check out.
The paint seemed to be in good condition (although I think it may have been repainted at some point), but it didn’t really run. Well, the motor ran if you took the belt off, but no dice on actually getting the machine to run. I decided to buy it anyway, since you know I love a challenge!
I finally got a chance to take it apart last week and see what was going on.
Um, yeah. That’s not what that is supposed to look like. I seems as though on top of not being used for a very long time, the last person to service it used some kind of heavy weight grease, or maybe even vaseline? The smell inside was something else let me tell you. The bottom of the machine was even worse.
Yikes. I did some reading and found that the best way to clean this kind of guck was with kerosene. So out to the back deck I went, to keep from knocking myself out from the fumes (not sure what was worse, the smell from the machine or the kerosene!)
Mmmm, check that out!
I did manage to get it all cleaned up (and eventually re-lubed and oiled). It took quite a few hours though.
In my reading I discovered that a lot of that icky musty smell that Featherweights are prone to is because of the felt drip pad in the bottom. So I pulled that out to see what kind of shape that was in.
Good grief! Can you see all that oil? It was BLACK like motor oil! I cleaned off the pan and ordered a new felt asap. While I was ordering I also got a new belt, new lube, and new little felts for under the thread.
While I was waiting for the new parts to arrive, I thought I would try to buff up the paint a bit. I used some Griot’s car care stuff that TJ uses on his car (Fine Hand Polish and Best of Show Wax). Check out these before and afters!
I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, but I am really pleased with the results!
With the new felt pad in, a new belt, and eleventy-million spots oiled and lubed, I tested it out!
It runs and sews great! I used it this weekend at our sewing day and once the oil worked it’s way around it was just humming along. I still have to figure out a solution to carry it (the case is pretty rough) but that is minor. I am so pleased!
I do however need a name for this one. What do you think about a little contest to pick a name?